National Law School of India University


National Law School of India University (NLSIU), or simply the National Law School (NLS), is a public law school in Bangalore Karnataka, India. The school is one of the preeminent centers of legal education in India.

National Law School of India University
Other name
National Law School, NLS Bangalore, NLSIU
Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah (trans. Those who protect the Law are protected by the Law)
TypeNational Law University
Established1986 (1986)
FounderN. R. Madhava Menon
AffiliationUniversity Grants Commission,
Bar Council of India
Budget38 crores[1]
ChancellorChief Justice of India (de facto)[i]
Vice-ChancellorSudhir Krishnaswamy
DeanMrinal Satish
RegistrarNigam Nuggehalli
Total staff
109 (16 - Administration) (93 - Academic)[a]
CampusUrban-located residential-cum-day school, 23 acres (9.3 ha)
Founding documentThe National Law School of India Act, 1986
  1. ^ As per section 7 of the Act, "the Chief Justice of India or his nominee who is a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court shall be the visitor of the School."

The university was established by the NLSIU Act of 1986, which was enacted by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.The school offers a five-year undergraduate Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Laws programme (BA/LLB) and a postgraduate single LLB programme, both of which qualify graduates for an admission to the bar.

Spread over a lush 23 acres, the campus houses India's largest legal library and hosts some of the country's colossal competitions and events, including the NLS Debate and Strawberry Fields festival.

The NLSIU is the only Indian institute to have won the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, having done so in 1999 and 2013. Furthermore, 25 alumni have been Rhodes scholars.



The National Law School was founded after two decades of work by lawyers including former Chief Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah, Ram Jethmalani and Upendra Baxi, who petitioned the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India to establish a university to rival Harvard Law School.[2] Subsequently, the Bar Council of India Trust and Government of Karnataka reached an agreement to found the first National Law University in Bangalore.[3] In 1986, the National Law University of India was established under the leadership of its founder, then Vice-Chancellor N. R. Madhava Menon.[4]

Menon ensured that the teaching at the university was based on the case method at Harvard rather than the traditional lecture format that was then rampant across Indian law schools. He also introduced to the university the concept of collaborative teaching, wherein more than one professor would conduct classes, with different professors taking and arguing contradictory positions in jurisprudence.[5]

The first batch of undergraduate law students were enrolled in 1 July 1988. Classes commenced before the school's buildings had been fully constructed, with lessons delivered at the Central College of Bangalore University until November 1991. Thereafter, the school moved to its current location in the Nagarbhavi suburb.

In 1995, the first UNHCR Chair for Refugee Law was inaugurated at NLSIU,[6] which serves as the Asian Centre for Refugee Law.[7] Professor N. Subramanya worked on key issues pertaining to refugees during his tenure.[8]



The Chief Justice of India is the Visitor and de facto Chancellor of the school, with the ability to adjudicate and advise the operations of the school.[9] The Vice-Chancellor of the school is the chief executive of the university and manages the day-to-day operations of the school. The school has had five more Vice-Chancellors since Menon, namely N. L. Mitra, A. Jayagovind, G. Mohan Gopal, R. Venkata Rao, and Sudhir Krishnaswamy, who took over in 2019.[10]

The school's administration is overseen by the General Council, Executive Council, Academic Council, and Finance Council.[11] The Councils consist of individuals such as the Chief Justice of India, the Chairman of the Bar Council of India, Judges of the Supreme Court of India, the Advocate General of Karnataka, Secretaries and Ministers of the Government of Karnataka and other eminent legal scholars.[12]



Admissions to 5-year undergraduate programme are based on the Common Law Admission Test-undergraduate (CLAT-UG). For the 2023-24 session of the undergraduate CLAT, a total of 56,472 students competed for 2644 total law seats, out of which 240 were offered at the NLSIU.[13] In 2020, the NLSIU attempted to withdraw from the CLAT, announcing that it would hold its own entrance examination. This decision was soon overturned by the Supreme Court of India.[14]

The postgraduate version of the CLAT screens candidates for the Master of Laws Programme. Candidates of the three-year bachelor of laws, Master of Public Policy, and Doctor of Philosophy are screened by the National Law School Admission Tests (NLSAT) are conducted.

In June 2021, the NLSIU announced a plan to increase the number of students enrolled on campus from 660 in 2021 to 2,200 in 2028, led by increasing the batch sizes of the BA-LLB cohort and the establishing of a three-year LLB course.[15]

The NLSIU has preserved 25% of seats for home students of Karnataka across admissions, but the Government of Karnataka has reservations on the manner in which this policy has been implemented.[16]


One of the university buildings



The NLSIU offers graduates a five-year integrated BA/LLB which qualifies the student to sit for the bar in India. The curriculum consists of a blend of social science and law subjects. In the first two years, students attend courses in history, political science, sociology and economics, alongside legal subjects such as tort, contract and constitutional law. In the subsequent three years, students mainly study legal subjects.

In 2017, NLSIU overhauled its academic curriculum to allow students to choose a greater number of their upper-year courses, allowing students to explore areas of interest to a greater degree.[17]



NLSIU launched a three-year LLB programme in 2022, making it the first National Law University to do so.[18][19]

The school offers a one-year LLM by coursework, a two-year MPP, and doctorate programmes.[20][21][22]

In addition to the above full-time programmes, the school's continuing education department offers several part-time distance learning programmes, including a Masters in Business Law and postgraduate diplomas in various fields.[23]


University rankings
Law – India
NIRF (2023)[24]1
India Today (2022)[25]1
Government colleges: 
Outlook India (2022)[26]1

National Law School of India is widely considered the best law school in India. The National Institutional Ranking Framework ranked the institute first in its law ranking of 2023,[27] as did India Today's "India's Best Colleges 2023: Law",[28] and Outlook India's "Top 13 Government Law Institutes" of 2023.[29]

Narayan Rao Melgiri Memorial National Law Library


The NLSIU's Narayan Rao Melgiri Memorial National Law Library is the largest law library in the country, housing a collection of over 50,000 books and 20,000 journals.[30] It is named after Narayan Rao Melgiri, a lawyer in Gadag. The Melgiri Library was inaugurated by Chief Justice of India Ramesh Chandra Lahoti in 2005, and was funded by contributions from the University Grants Commission (India) and Sudha Murthy, chairperson of the Infosys Foundation and granddaughter of Melgiri.[31][30]

In 2023, Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and Bhutan Princess Sonam Dechen Wangchuck inaugurated a renovated library building, which now includes a number of accessibility features, including braille printers, screen readers, and desktop magnifiers.[32]

Student activities


Student Bar Association


The Student Bar Association (SBA) is the umbrella body that coordinates all student activities. All students are de facto members of the SBA. The SBA oversees twelve activity-based committees (ABCs) that manage specific student activities.[33][34] Institutional events include the Spiritus sports festival, Strawberry Fields music festival, the NLS-Trilegal International Arbitration Moot, the NLS Negotiation and Mediation Competition, and the Admit One theater festival. Students also run the publication of Quirk, an online magazine at NLSIU.[35]

Competitive debating


NLSIU plays an active role in promoting parliamentary style debate in India. The school regularly participates in international competitions and is currently the highest-ranking Indian team in the debating world rankings.[36]

NLSIU reached the ESL Finals in 2002 and in 2007 at the World Universities Debating Championship. It also recently won the 15th All Asian Debating Championships held in Dhaka in 2008. NLSIU was the first South Asian team to reach the second round of the Cambridge University Debate Competition.[37] All three NLSIU teams reached the semi-finals in the inaugural Asians BP Tournament held in Chulalongkorn University, with two out of the top ten speakers being from the university. The school has also reached the semi-finals of the United Asian Debating Championships 2010.

Beginning in 2002, the NLSIU has hosted South Asia's largest parliamentary debate competition, the National Law School Debate.[38] In 2011, the NLSIU launched the NLS Union Debate and the NLS Debate Junior.[39] Christ Junior College also organised a debate with NLS in 2011.[40]

Moot court competitions


The NLSIU is the only law school in South Asia to have won the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition twice, in 1999 and 2013.[41] It also reached the Jessup finals in 2018.[42] The university has also won the Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at the University of Oxford in 2021.[43] NLSIU has also won the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition in 2009,[44] 2012[45] and most recently in 2017.[46]

Notable people








There are numerous journals published by the students and faculty at NLSIU. Their National Law School of India Review has been cited by the Supreme Court of India in two notable judgments including the Right to Privacy verdict, which is the only student-run law journal of the already few Indian law journals to have been cited by the Supreme Court of India.[citation needed]

These are the journals published by the school:

  • National Law School Journal
  • National Law School of India Review
  • NLS Business Law Review
  • Socio-Legal Review
  • Journal on Environmental Law Policy and Development (JELPD)
  • Journal of Law and Public Policy (JLPP)
  • International Journal on Consumer law and Practice
  • Indian Journal of Law and Technology
  • Indian Journal of International Economic Law (IJIEL)

See also



  1. ^ Out of the total, 56 are core faculty, 3 are adjunct faculty and 34 are visiting faculty


  1. ^ Financial statement for FY 2021-22
  2. ^ "NLUs – The birth of National Law School". Careers360. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  3. ^ "National Law Universities, Original Intent & Real Founders | Live Law". Live Law. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Articles – Manupatra". Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  5. ^ "About NLSIU". National Law School of India University. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  6. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (11 September 1995). "Information note on UNHCR's activities for refugee law promotion, dissemination and training". UNHCR. Retrieved 19 August 2011. This year, the first UNHCR Chair for Refugee Law was inaugurated at the National Law School of India University in Bangalore.
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  9. ^ Section 7 of The National Law School of India Act, 1986
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  11. ^ Section 8 of The National Law School of India Act, 1986
  12. ^ Section 2 of The National Law School of India Act, 1986
  13. ^ "CLAT 2023 Seat Allotment: Seat Matrix, Cut Off, Admission". College Dunia. There are 2644 seats for UG Program,914 seats for PG Program
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  15. ^ "NLSIU Inclusion and Expansion Plan 2021-25". National Law School of India University. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
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  18. ^ "NLSIU Bengaluru to conduct NLSAT 2022 for 3-year LLB programme; All you need to know". Retrieved 22 February 2023. {{cite web}}: External link in |last= (help)CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
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  31. ^ "Karnataka / Bangalore News : Director thanks Dharam Singh". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 29 August 2005. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2011. He said that the library inaugurated by Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti has been named after Narayan Rao Melgiri of Gadag, who was a distinguished lawyer and grandfather of Sudha Murthy, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation.
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  34. ^ Constitution of the Student Bar Association
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  42. ^ "Breaking: NLSIU Bangalore WINS the Jessup world cup of mooting after 14 years".
  43. ^ "International Rounds 2021". 11 March 2021.
  44. ^ "NLSIU makes mooting history: India wins Manfred Lachs for the first time". Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
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